Elon Musk Boldly Goes Where No Entrepreneur Could Afford to Go Before

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Elon MuskOn Saturday, Elon Musk will make history. Again. This is the man who:
  • Invented PayPal (and sold it to eBay (EBAY) for $1.5 billion).
  • Looked under the hood of the electric car that General Motors (GM) had just killed, and brought it back to life.
  • Launched the first ever private space vessel to orbit the Earth.
  • Was the inspiration behind the movie version of Iron Man's billionaire inventor Tony Stark.
On Saturday, he will lead his company, SpaceX, in another historic first, as SpaceX attempts to launch into space a Dragon resupply capsule atop one of its Falcon 9 rockets, then dock it with the International Space Station.

The project is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it's never been done before. A private party has never docked a spaceship with the ISS. As Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert put it recently: "four entities have launched rockets into space: the U.S., China, the Soviet Union [Russia], and Elon Musk."

Second, because if SpaceX succeeds in this effort, it will begin to make good on the $1.6 billion contract it won from NASA four years ago, to run about a dozen resupply missions to the ISS -- relieving NASA of the obligation of having to pay the Russians to lift supplies up to the station, and ensuring SpaceX's survival in the process.

What's It Mean to You?

To taxpayers, though, the most important thing about Saturday's flight is the potential that a successful SpaceX mission holds for lowering the cost of space flight, and getting us more missions per taxpayer dollar.

By SpaceX's estimation, once the company scales up its operations, it should be able to lift cargo into space at a rough cost of about $1,300 per pound lifted. For reference, that's about 50% cheaper than the cheapest state-subsidized space launch today -- and multiples cheaper than the current average cost to launch a rocket into space, which runs anywhere from $4,500 up to $10,000 per pound of cargo delivered. And ultimately, Musk says that getting the price down to $500 per pound or even less is "very achievable."

That's just one more reason that when Falcon 9 is waiting on the launchpad Saturday, we should all be counting down along with it.

Motley Fool contributor Rich Smith holds no position in any company mentioned. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of General Motors and eBay.


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ajain31

Buzz Aldrin's Cycler based travel to MARS using six such Cyclers staggered in orbit between Earth and MARS would be ideal. Elon Musk is one visionary who can accomplish regular visits to MARS and back!

Dr. Buzz Aldrin's vision of our history of Space Exploration and its place in future
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWYtsIeZEcA&list=UUJ32RMD21d1rLxoBD6s6Dcw&index=1

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/moon-mars/2076326?series=35

Elon Musk is a great legend ripe for the US Space Age of today but way ahead of his time. He has realized his dreams in exploiting the Internet through founding his Billion dollar company PayPal, in promoting sustainable energy production like through his company SOLAR CITY, his promotion of sustainable energy consumption like through his all electric car company TESLA and his vision to promote space travel through his company SPACEX and is making progress successfully by leaps and bounds.


SpaceX is our answer to Space Exploration and a visit to settle on MARS and an Asteroid. An offshoot to our MARS exploration should building an Asteroid avoidance system before 2039 which is of prime importance.

Elon Musk made his first fortune selling PayPal to eBay in 2002. Now NASA is using his SpaceX to resupply the International Space Station while shares of his Tesla electric car company gained 10% last year. Next up: SolarCity, run by Musk's cousin Lyndon Rive, wants to put solar panels on your home (except not for my home in Garland Texas USA because my local Utility company does not provide the appropriate solar rebates!).

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at the House Appropriations Texas Published Mar 8 '13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhVNOYz5ciw.

Space Exploration gets private with SpaceX Dragon Published Mar 5 '13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCk8V3z8Cjo.

SpaceX Hatch Opening of CRS-2 Dragon on ISS Published Mar 4 '13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlACnuHFPg0.

SpaceX Dragon carrying NASA Cargo arrives at International Space Station Published Mar 3 '13https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMGxUPshOco.

SpaceX Elon Musk's view from Mission Control Published Feb 28 '13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53gkLHvljxg.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk - Europe's rocket has no chance Published Nov 20 '12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on6pzefo4t8.

SpaceX boldly looks to blast millions of people Mars Published May 3 '12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svzXxuQIKlc.

SpaceX Next - Falcon Heavy Press Conference April 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtoADdSry6g&list=PL804F06E0DFC20878&index=4&feature=plpp_video

A Pioneer in Space and On Earth.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/10/opinion/mccray-elon-musk/index.html CNN, June 11, 2012.

SpaceX: Entrepreneur's race to space.

CBS 60 Minutes, June 3, 2012 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57438584/spacex-entrepreneurs-race-to-space/.

Elon Musk on Sixty Minutes http://blog.ted.com/2013/02/27/transforming-transportation-elon-musk-at-ted2013/.

March 22 2013 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Trevor HM Cooper

Type your comment hereHTTP://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=IVHAO96FIIW
Ziya Tong introduced Trevor and his spaceships to the world on Daily Planet on Discovery Channel February 11th 2013 part 5. http://watch.discoverychannel.ca/daily-planet/#clip863176
Will you do a follow up story?
Once the story gets out there, Investors will produce an advertising budget. We will start advertising on the discovery channel because they picked up part of the story first and we will see who does a positive follow up.

Will you holiday in space? Here is a Spaceship that can take you to any orbit in this solar system and mine Asteroids smaller than a car. Or produce rental income here at Earth while collecting SpaceJunk. These are spaceships not Star Ships unless Mars and Venus are still stars. We don’t offer Aliens, Laser guns, BeemMeUpScotty or WarpSpeed, nor can we land on a planet or moon. This is just APlaceInSpaceToPlay. Read more at www.LivingInSpace.org
In 1904, an animation was seen of a rocket coming out of a barn and blasting off to space, then returned to Earth. 100 years later, Tasha9503 plans to lift 213 people per launch and reuse the hardware that lifted them as infrastructure in Space.
In 2007, http://www.tasha9503.ca/ was put on the net to show the new shape of the HLV (rocket), where to position everything and what the infrastructure will be able to do. In 2009, it cost up to $20,000,000 to lift one satellite, Tasha9503 plans to lift six satellites per launch and charge $7,000,000 each. (2009 dollars) In 2009, http://www.LivingInSpace.ca/ was produced to create the ability to sell 85% of the infrastructure Tasha9503 puts in LEO to raise start-up costs, offering time and profit shares to those who invest the start-up expense. August 2012 the first PayPal payment was made. Rodney became the first person to use PayPal to buy in and own part of everything Tasha9503 builds in space with time and profit shares included and the chance to win one free week in space. Each link is different but all on the topic of HotelsInSpace by Tasha9503. Here is one solution to the dinosaur incident. Do you fear nuclear fallout, global warming or pollution?
Every dollar received before Tasha9503 begins collecting rent, is attributed to ownership. 85% of everything Tasha9503 builds Low in Earth’s Orbit (leo) is being sold. The Infrastructure (Spaceships) that can be mass produced and will start being used as HotelsInSpace but eventually can be taken to the Asteroid belt to mine rocks that are smaller than a car, while studying the stars and space dust, in an array of light waves. Tasha9503 has access to all the technology and soon funding, to produce what is seen at YouTube Tasha9503 Spaceship. The first day Tasha9503 collects rent, 25% before tax dollars will pay profit shares. That day all calculations will determine who owns how much. That is the day investment repayment begins. Tasha9503 will own 15% and you can own more than 51%. The first Spaceship will remain at

February 22 2013 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hello!

Iron Man's Tony Stark was around before this guy was even born. How could he be the inspiration?

May 20 2012 at 2:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
vallowery1

Inspiration for Tony Stark in the Ironman movies, really ?!? The same billionaire inventor Tony Stark from the 1963 comic books ? I dont think so. And exactly what did he do to GM's electric car other than throw money at it ?

May 19 2012 at 9:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BOB

I'm glad he sold Pay Pal before he takes off. Rotsa Ruck!

May 19 2012 at 6:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BOB's comment
alfredschrader

Elon is a genius. I asked Emily to send me the failed valve so I can re-design it so future valves wont fail....Alfred-

May 19 2012 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HAT1701D

Ooops.....and a fuel pump problem due to computer glitches shuts'er down. Darn, too bad we didn't keep the shuttle operational UNTIL the replacements were OPERATIONAL. K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid....a principle that Clarence "Kelly" Johnson ran Skunkworks by while he it's general foreman and why he had a crack team of engineers that got things done.

May 19 2012 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lifehub

It's where any entrepreneur has NO CHOICE but to go---outer space, in this dead economy.

May 19 2012 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
arenadood

To bad the launch was canceled for technical problems. I wish them the best of luck when they do launch.

May 19 2012 at 11:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bpchicago

This is the best news for all of us in a long time. Our government run Space exploration has been stalled for many years, perhaps this can get us back where we should be.

Marshall Hagy
Chicago

May 19 2012 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aeriallighting1

lol Maybe old crazy man Gingrich wasn't so crazy after all?

May 19 2012 at 8:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to aeriallighting1's comment
alfredschrader

Gingrich isn't crazy.

May 19 2012 at 7:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply